Fouad al-Zayat

October 1, 2019 at 3:30 am

Fouad al-Zayat Fouad al-Zayat was a Syrian businessman, gambler and investor who passed away in Lebanon in 2018 at the age of 77. In the casino circles, he was nicknamed the ”Fat Man.” He was a secretive yet inexhaustive gambler, and this billionaire frequented the Aspinalls Club in Mayfair in the West end of London. Here he gambled thousands of pounds in a single visit which by the turn of the century increased to a million pounds or more on a single visit.

Lavish Gambling

Al-Zayat was a man who lived by the sword. He founded various companies including Mortimer off Shore Services Ltd. The Islamic Republic of Iran also commissioned him to assist in the purchase of a jet for the Iranian President. Al-Zayat commissioned the help of some top officials and bribed them with thousands in free casino chips so he could get a permit to sell plane parts to Iran, despite US trade sanctions. However, the permit was never awarded.

His lavish style of gambling was no secret, and he was considered a whale in the casino industry. Between 1994-2006 al Zayat wagered in the region of £91 million at Aspinalls and lost £23 million. He was also later sued by Aspinalls for an amount of £2 million plus costs due to gambling debts he incurred from Blackjack losses. He was court-ordered to pay the debt, which he appealed and won under the pretence he was given unlawful credit under the Gaming Act.

In 2015 al-Zayat was tried in absentia and convicted to life in prison for bribery in Greece. However, He never served this sentence as they were unable to track him down. Further to this, at the time of his death, he was also wanted for fraud in Cyprus.

Fouad al- Zayat was undoubtedly a giant of a man and left a blazing trail as his legacy.